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34 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2020 Kurt Palmer: There's a lot of interest in that ex- act setup at a lot of board shops in North Amer- ica. The challenge, when push comes to shove, is that it requires a bit of a change in think- ing. You have to retool the way your panels are layed up on the drill tables. For example, when talking about introducing two automated ma- chines into a drill room that already has 30–40 spindles, they have been doing their tooling a certain way. Now, all of a sudden, this automa- tion requires something a little bit different. It's not easy to say, "Today, we want to auto- mate," and just start doing it. GreenSource was simple because they started from a greenfield and were able to build it out from the ground up. It's a little bit of a challenge when you talk about a shop that's existing, has a variety of equipment new and old, and wants to begin automating. We're working with a customer in the Mid- west right now who's buying one automated machine; it's a single table with automation. Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team The I-Connect007 team spoke with Burkle's Dick Crowe and Kurt Palmer, as well as Thom- as Kunz from Schmoll Maschinen, about mak- ing the drill and lamination departments more profitable through increased flexibility and au- tomation. Barry Matties: Today, we're going to talk about profitability and how the drill room can add to that. For some background, I have toured a couple of different PCB fabrication facilities, including AT&S and GreenSource, where they have automated loaders with all the material needed for the jobs the next day, which are then fed into single-spindle drill machines. The machines then run all night, operator free; in the morning, all those jobs are ready to pro- cess in the factory. Why don't we see more of that in North America? Finding Profitability in the Drill Room Dick Crowe Kurt Palmer

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